Where will the Oregon Trail lead? Back to Missouri, obviously, but before getting that far, I found a few interesting things within an easy day’s ride of home.
If you have an Idaho Driver’s License, take a look at the faint photo background behind your stats. It should look exactly like this.
The roads I followed out of Boise coincide with the Oregon Trail but there was little of apparent interest until I saw an interpretive sign. I stopped and learned the large rock there was covered with axle grease emigrant graffiti from the 1850s — kind of cool.
Bowns Creek was another camping area which provided little water in most years. The Trail followed down the creek for a mile before continuing to the north. Another large granite boulder close to the Trail became an ‘emigrant post office’ as many people wrote their names in axle grease upon the rock. Although faded from the elements, some are still visible after 150 years.¹
Oregon Trail interpretive sign
Next up was Canyon Creek Station. I didn’t set out to hit Oregon Trail sites but with the temperature rising into the 90s, shade looked pretty nice. This area served as a wagon stop where many would camp for the night. Other structures were destroyed by fire so all that remains are these lava rock walls.
Here I departed from the Oregon Trail and headed toward the mountains. Bye emigrants.
I followed Immigrant Road to Highway 20 then turned off to circle Little Camas Reservoir. I’d never seen it and happened to be in the neighborhood. I thought it looked pretty slimy — more fishing hole than recreation area.
I could see it was a good thing I hadn’t shot for Trinity Pass just yet.
Ever wary of backtrack anathema, I saw in an aerial view what looked like a means of circling around the Little Camas Reservoir so I plotted it on the GPS. Worked great.
The backtrack-avoidance route took me on an interesting tour near Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
I had never circled around the non-highway side of Anderson Ranch Reservoir so after lunch in Pine I began circumnavigating, noting several great campsites for another day.
Could just be that I was cavalier about signage as a kid but I don’t remember seeing a hundredth of the “no” signs we see today. It was like this all along the reservoir.
I had a quick look at the Anderson Ranch Reservoir dam then followed the river several miles past more beautiful campsites — many folks floating and fishing — until it was time to climb out of the canyon toward Pierce.
I tried to route from Pierce out a jeep trail along the bench above the river but was turned back by “No Trespassing” signs. So I made due.
In lieu of the bench-above-the-river trail, I stopped at a point just off the road above the top end of Arrowrock Reservoir.
There is a bald eagle nest below the point that a couple enthusiasts pointed out when I was here last year. I was a bit surprised to see the same nest still there. I guess they don’t move around much.